Benilde-St. Margaret’s star is everyone in the making in basketball

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Olivia Olson will travel to Washington, DC on Friday to train with the USA Basketball U16 Women’s Team which will compete at the FIBA ​​Americas Championships in Guanajuato, Mexico later this month.

There was a lot to do to prepare.

Packaging, of course. She will be away from her New Hope home for weeks. But also this: to make sure that his things are in order.

Yes. Company.

Olson, 15, is already on her way to becoming one of Minnesota’s top basketball players. Having played college ball for Benilde-St. Margaret’s since eighth grade, the 6-1 Olson is already ranked ninth nationally in the 2024 class by ESPN’s HoopGurlz, a ranking that is likely to rise.

She’s athletic and long, a leader who can see the ground, pass, strike both three and mid-range and display a smaller defender. One of only three 15-year-olds chosen for the United States squad, Olson’s profile will continue to rise.

“She’s really unique,” ​​said Nick Storm, co-director and founder of the Minnesota Fury AAU program, where Olson plays. “In terms of height and length, combined with his sheer athleticism? In terms of jumping ability, speed, change of direction? , who can play the leader and shoot three at half distance. What she brings to the field is unreal. ”

Then add this: Work ethics.

Despite all the skills, Olson’s willingness to work was quickly mentioned by Storm and Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Michael Swann. And by Sue Phillips, who will coach the United States team in Mexico, who listed Olson’s attributes in this order: “Work ethic, skills, competitive nature.”

Which brings us back to this case. Ask her about her competitive nature and this is what she will say: “I want to win. I want to improve myself. This is what I love to do. ”

And that goes for Liv’s Lawns, a lawn care company she started. “I love making money,” she says simply. “Then I’ll do anything.”

Natural leader

He is a person who pays attention to detail. Along with his game, that means living in the gym. She’s been there since she was little, working with her father, Chris, who emphasized ball-handling skills from the start, even though Olivia was still tall for her age.

It’s worth noting that Chris, along with Olivia’s brother Morgan, will be running Liv’s Lawns, which has around a dozen regular customers, while she’s on the road.

But back to basketball. Swann said he knew Olson was going to be something special when she scored 40 points in eighth grade in a game against a DeLaSalle team that would reach the final of the 2020 Class 3A women’s basketball tournament before that the event is closed by COVID -19.

“She’s like a player-coach already,” Swann said. “She always wants to improve. She’s a team leader. She’s been captain since eighth grade.”

Swann said Olson, who averaged 23 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in the freshman, will surpass 1,000 points in the next season. She is already courted by all blueblood university programs, with 17 scholarship offers. Always efficient, Olson keeps a book and calendar of every contact she has with every college coach. “It’s about building relationships,” she explained.

Still, Olson said she was nervous when she traveled to Indianapolis earlier this year, one of 34 players invited to try her hand at the U16 national team.

Quickly, she learned that she belonged. “To be able to be part of the team, knowing that I can compete with the best players, that was pretty cool, I think,” she said.

Paige Comparisons

Olson describes himself as versatile, able to play anywhere from leader to forward in attack and defense. She will likely end up as a shooter in college, but she loves having the ball in her hands. “I like to play fast,” she said. “I like to drive, to pass. I like to find my teammates open. I like to play in transition.”

Storm is confident that Olson will continue to climb the national rankings in her category. To the top, maybe, by the end of his high school career.

That, of course, brings comparisons to former Hopkins star and current UConn player Paige Bueckers.

Storm moves away from it. Comparisons like this put a lot of pressure on a player. But he will say this:

Olson is taller, stronger, and more able to play multiple positions than Bueckers at the same age.

“[Olson] is very similar in terms of looking at the ground, ”Storm said.“ I spoke to college coaches, people I trust, and they said they thought she could be the best player. basketball court at one point. ”

As an eighth-grader, Olson told Swann that a goal she had was to dunk in a game before ending her high school career. “I’m looking at her now,” Swann said, “and I’m thinking,“ It just might happen. “”

For now, with Liv’s Lawns taken care of and ready to travel to DC for training camp, Olson – thrilled to be practicing her fluent Spanish on the trip to Mexico – only plans a few weeks.

“I am delighted to play,” she said. “And playing with these people. I think it’s a pretty stacked team, but everyone is playing together. I think it will be a good experience.”

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